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Spinel's avatar

Why would someone want to colonize other planets?

Asked by Spinel (3220 points ) January 29th, 2010

It’s a sentiment among some optimistic scientists…we will be colonizing planets by the next century. My question is: why? I don’t see how a colony on another planet could be useful or how a colony could prosper, given the impossible conditions of space. And why would an individual want to go? Sure, the universe is spectacular from afar, but currently we haven’t found any Pandoras, just gas, rock, cold and used energy.

How would it pay and what would be some personal reasons of an individual to go? Thoughts?

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41 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Because this planet is going to the dumps. We need someplace to be. And we love taking advantage of anything around us. Oh and doing things just because we can.

laureth's avatar

Many people think that it’s a worthy goal if only because we’re quickly fouling our nest here. Rather than expend the severe worldwide effort to get us to clean it up, they see a mulligan as our only opportunity for survival as a species. With terraforming, it might not be as unlivable as you think.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Are you kidding me?I would *love * for my mother -in-law to go where no woman has gone before! ;)))

CyanoticWasp's avatar

lol @ “used energy”.

Earth has been pretty prosperous, for the most part. What’s to say there can’t be a place that’s even more prosperous.

Aside from that, Earth will cease to be habitable for humans someday. It might be nice if the genes have spread elsewhere in the universe before that day occurs.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

Maybe they’re like Kim Jeong, and other mad individuals with a “Napoleon Complex”. Lol.

eponymoushipster's avatar

crazy alien poontang.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Anybody read Matt Browne’s book? In the occurrence of an extinction level event here on Earth, colonizing another planet would ensure the survival of the human species.

ETpro's avatar

Given all the hell astronauts catch in off-world exploration in most space opera movies, that’s a very good question. But then, we might get lucky and discover a planet like in Barbarella.

If we want to keep reproducing, which most of us seem to do, than at some point we will need more space. Then there is the possibility that Hubble will send us a friendly message to the effect that a rogue object the size of Jupiter is zipping along at 400,000 MPH on a collision course with earth. That might be reason enough for a vacation trip to other parts of the Milky Way.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Planet earth isn’t going to sustain over 6 billion people indefinitely. It’s important to explore other options (think: space and planets) before time runs out on further alternatives.

borderline_blonde's avatar

I’m agreed: the earth is going to hell in a handbag, and all because of us (unless you want to blame cow farts, but I have the feeling cows fart just as often as humans do). Therefore, we’re probably going to need a new planet to live on someday… and even if we do keep this place going, the sun is going to die out in the very far-off future, so it might be a good idea for us to get started now. Or not. Maybe with all the destruction we breed we should let ourselves go extinct.

evil2's avatar

one word….oil….when the us runs out in the middle east its mars next

Qingu's avatar

I personally believe if anyone is actually going to end up colonizing other planets it’s going to be self-aware robots we help create.

But maybe they’ll let us visit. I’d imagine it would be expensive, though.

Qingu's avatar

@evil2, there is no oil on Mars. At least as far as we can tell, because there is no life on Mars, nor does it appear there has ever been.

Oil comes from the decayed and compressed bodies of living things.

@Bluefreedom, I’m actually more optimistic that we’ll get our population under control than that we’ll exhaust the resources of our planet in some malthusian scenario. I mean, if you look at economically developed countries, the trajectory has been almost ubiquitous—as they develop the birth rate drops. Europe actually has a negative birth rate. “Go forth and multiply” worked well for bronze-age nomads with no birth control whose kids could act as labor and health insurance in old age, but it doesn’t make sense in post-industrialized society with modern medicine and social nets.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@Qingu. Let’s hope you’re right because otherwise it might deteriorate toward a bleak existence for many.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

Am I crazy for saying I would go for the shear insanity and adventure of it?

Nullo's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna
You aren’t crazy, unless both of us are.

ragingloli's avatar

Preservation of the species, Accessing new natural resource deposits. Outposts for further exploration of deep space. Create new centres and capacity for research and production (two planets of scientists is better than one)
To explore strange new worlds.
To seek out new life and new civilisations.
To boldly go where no one has gone before.

life_after_2012's avatar

I hate saying this, but why not? in less then a hundred years earth could possibly be bleed dry of natural resources not to mention over crowding. maybe im wrong, im not a scientist

belakyre's avatar

My first thought was the population problem. In China, many horrible things are happening like the killing of infant girls because of the population control (even though it has been extended to two children per family…these things are still happening because of the need of getting a son). If we have new planets to live on…things like these won’t happen?

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

Well there’s 2 reasons that I can think of:
1. Us mortals (aka humans) suck.
2. Because we are raping and destroying our planet.

Spinel's avatar

@belakyre True…but what happens when those planets become crowded? :S

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@ragingloli: HA! I finally get to turn this site’s almost obsessive compulsion to correct grammar on it’s ear! “To boldly go” is NOT correct. Take that Star Trek! :-P

ragingloli's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna
Writer’s prerogative.

ragingloli's avatar

“The infinitive is to go, and it has been ‘split’ by the adverb boldly. Split infinitives have been the cause of much controversy among teachers and grammarians, but the notion that they are ungrammatical is simply a myth: in his famous book Modern English Usage, Henry Fowler listed them among ‘superstitions’!

Split infinitives are frequently poor style, but they are not strictly bad grammar. In the example above, to avoid the split infinitive would result either in weakness (to go boldly) or over-formality (boldly to go): either would ruin the rhythmic force and rhetorical pattern of the original. It is probably good practice to avoid split infinitives in formal writing, but clumsy attempts to avoid them simply by shuffling adverbs about can create far worse sentences.”

- http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutgrammar/splitinfinitives

ucme's avatar

I think Walle said it best. Although everyone returning to earth in the peachy ending was a little far fetched probably.

tb1570's avatar

Because it seems to be a part of human nature to always wonder what’s over the next (proverbial) hill. I, for one, would go in a heart beat.

anon30's avatar

we need to. we destroying earth right now as we speak.
psh we even trying to combine atoms to make a worm whole, what if that makes
a black hole and just gets bigger and bigger?

psh bye bye earth

Fenris's avatar

I haven’t seen any evidence that humanity, on the whole, is capable of saving itself. I’ve met a few rare and extraordinary people capable of actually living with the planet, stopping at just enough, and living life in context of what’s living around them. They are are few and far between, sometimes plagued by social difficulties and developmental disorders, oftentimes plagued by a soul-weary misanthropy. So the few of us, the bold, the radical dreamers, the masters of metal and math, the peaceable, will leave and see from a distance if humanity eats itself to death. If we do to ourselves, it just proves how inescapable our nature is. If we don’t survive, then it proves just how fragile we are. If we survive, and those left behind survive, and even if they don’t, then maybe we can begin again. New beginnings are as rare as blue roses, and just as valuable.

anon30's avatar

@Fenris
you just reminded me of a movie that just came out.

watch this movie

LostInParadise's avatar

Does anybody else see the irony in that we are creating a mass extinction on our world while searching for life on other worlds?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna… “on its ear”, not “on it’s ear”.

laureth's avatar

@borderline_blonde – cow farts produce more than human farts, because people seem to want to feed cows grain (which their ruminant stomachs can’t really digest very well) to get them fatty and tasty. Ergo, massive farts.

mattbrowne's avatar

Why would someone want to colonize Europe, Asia, and later America?

Spinel's avatar

@mattbrowne Areas on earth have resources, and livable conditions. Space is nearly unlivable without extreme and fragile, human-made environments. I suppose we could mine on other planets, but everything else would be a problem. Just getting the basics like food and water would be a problem. This risk is huge. Why would people want to take that risk?

DrMC's avatar

I’ve read science fiction since 5th grade. How could I not want to colonize?

Nullo's avatar

Perhaps a better question would be, “why wouldn’t someone want to colonize other planets?”.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Spinel – Because it’s human. We are explorers.

Keep in mind our ancestors experienced the same thing. Central Africa was a paradise for australopithecines and the early homo habilis species. The closure of the panama seaway led to a dramatic climate change about 3 million years ago. And it put ice in the Arctic and made central Africa very dry. Our ancestors had to move elsewhere. At first it was hell. They had to develop language and tools. They adapted.

Progress in science is not possible without fundamental research. We know more details about the human brain because we also study nonhuman brains. We know more details about planet Earth because we also study other planets. Space exploration is a blessing. It fuels progress. Weather satellites save millions of lives every year because of good forecasts.

The colonization of planets can be achieved but it will take time. We need to be patient. We should tackle more pressing issues first without forgetting important long-term goals.

ragingloli's avatar

Science is Humanity’s greatest asset. Nothing comes close.

DrMC's avatar

I want to find little green people and eat them

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